China- After North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test, China has asked North Korean companies in the Chinese territory to cease operations. This includes all Chinese companies with North Korean partners as well. China has banned textile trade and limited oil export to North Korea.
China was North Korea’s best ally and with China backing out, North Korea is now politically and economically isolated. China has always been supportive of North Korea but has also had opposing opinions about its nuclear tests and escalating rhetoric. When the UN Security Council called for a vote, of which China is a member, the council unanimously voted for fresh sanctions on 11th September.
China’s commerce ministry has set a deadline of 120 days from the date of the passing of the resolution for all North Korean companies in its territory to close. Now, with the severed ties with China, North Korea has lost a major portion of its foreign income.
India- Gauri Lankesh, a Bengaluru-based journalist, activist and a staunch critic of the Bhartiya Janta Party, the current ruling party, was shot to death outside of her house on the evening of September 5. Her murder is a high profile case and has been the country’s top news headline since it happened, but the police still haven’t been able to find a suspect or motive.
On September 20, another journalist was found murdered, after he was kidnapped by a separatist group in North East India. An organization in India, known as Committee to Protect Journalists or CPJ, has released a report which states that over the last 25 years, 41 journalists have been killed who’ve had assignments covering politics or corruption. These journalists were deemed, “dangerous.”
This seems to threaten the freedom of the press in India, which is why people have taken to the streets to protest against it.
Spain- Catalonia is in the northeastern part of Spain, widely known for its beaches of Costa Brava. Recently, the region had a referendum to split from Spain and after 90% of the votes were in favor of the split, Spain has been in a state of political and constitutional crisis. There has been a violent crackdown to stop the protests, which the President of Catalonia- Carles Puigdemont- said has been the worst violence Catalonia has seen since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
The Catalonia health ministry has said that 893 people were injured after Spanish police raided polling stations, dragged people out and fired rubber bullets to prevent people from voting. The Catalan President has demanded a withdrawal of Spanish forces from Catalan territory. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said that “all acts of violence will be investigated independently and impartially.” Under the referendum legislation passed by the Catalan parliament, the regional government has 48 hours after the result is finalized to declare independence from Spain.
Russia had sued journalists who wrote about the Kursk Submarine disaster in 2000. Now, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia has sued against free speech and must compensate the journalists.
Russia must now pay 3,388 euros to a newspaper named Novaya Gazeta, and 2,170 euros to Yelena Milashina. Novaya Gazeta is an investigative newspaper and is a critic of the Kremlin. It had accused the military of allegedly failing to properly investigate the incident, which killed 118 sailors. This was based on the fact that the naval investigating officer, Viktor Kulkutin, reported that 23 sailors died after eight hours of the explosion. However, Novaya Gazeta disputed, asserting that the sailors had survived longer than that and the navy had bungled the rescue attempt.
The European court ruled in favor of the newspaper as by prosecuting the journalists, the Russian defense ministry had violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which safegaurds freedom of speech.